×

Quick Draw

Hulu's western spoof shoots blanks comedy-wise

With:
John Lehr, Nick Brown, Allison Dunbar, Robert Clendenin

It’s perhaps appropriate that Hulu has access to “Saturday Night Live,” because in terms of original series, the digital service is starting to look like a not-ready-for-primetime player. After the so-so “Moone Boy” and uninspired “The Awesomes” comes “Quick Draw,” a western spoof seemingly devised — given the form’s current low profile — for no one in particular. Starring and co-written by John Lehr, who plays an Eastern tenderfoot who brags about his Harvard background, it’s an awfully slim construct, played at a level somewhere between desert-dry and teeth-gnashing irritation. Whatever the goal, this ought to have been sent back to the drawing board.

Lehr shares writing and exec producing credit with director Nancy Hower, with whom he collaborated on TBS’ “10 Items or Less.” Still, the “Destry”-like premise is mostly obscured by the lead’s Jerry Lewis antics and a been-there quality to the gags.

Lehr plays John Henry Hoyle, the new sheriff in a Kansas town where his five predecessors all met a violent end. Hoyle’s deputy (Nick Brown) has seen them all come and go, which understandably gives the new lawman pause — as does a pool among the locals on when he’s going to join the ranks of the deceased.

Yet while Hoyle acts like a buffoon and cites his Ivy League credentials at every opportunity, he’s actually pretty handy with a gun, which becomes apparent when he’s charged with hunting down a gang of outlaws.

Silliness isn’t bad, necessarily, but when confined to such a specific setting, there needs to be some point of view. Moreover, the western is hardly a regular point of reference for the young guys who are presumably the target audience, given the snarky, let’s-sift-through-that-corpse tone of the humor.

Quick Draw” virtually dispenses with any of that, which leaves the actors doing little more than playing dress-up, for what feels considerably longer than the premiere’s 23 minutes.

Hulu’s presence at the TV Critics Assn. tour illustrates that the service wants to be taken seriously as an original-programming provider, and anybody committed to playing in the big leagues is going to fire off their share of duds (a la Netflix’s “Hemlock Grove“).

Nevertheless, it’s hard to see any of the more traditional networks being drawn to something like this. Viewed that way, “Quick Draw” represents a pretty conspicuous misfire, pardner.

Popular on Variety

Quick Draw

(Series; Hulu, Mon. Aug. 5)

Production: Produced by Howler Monkey Prods.

Crew: Executive producers, Nancy Hower, John Lehr; co-executive producer, Keith Raskin; director, Hower; writers, Hower, Lehr; camera, Mark Petersen; production designer, Gary Kordan; music, Darius Holbert; casting, Tim Payne. 23 MIN.

Cast: John Lehr, Nick Brown, Allison Dunbar, Robert Clendenin

More TV

  • Ballers HBO

    'Ballers' to End After Season 5 on HBO

    “Ballers” is coming to an end after five seasons on HBO. Star and EP Dwayne Johnson confirmed the news via his Instagram. “My heart is full of gratitude to all of you for rocking with us every season. You made us HBO’s highest rated comedy for years and most importantly, you helped create and sustain [...]

  • Sublime Primetime

    How Emmy-Nominated Writers’ Rooms Keep Politics in Mind

    In a world filled with elections, social movements and national tragedies, how open should the doors of a writers’ room actually be? For some of this year’s Emmy-nominated shows, those doors are wide open. Before the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sept. 22, the Writers Guild of America, in partnership with Variety and [...]

  • Disney Villains Series 'Book of Enchantment'

    'Book of Enchantment' Series Based on Iconic Disney Villains Shelved at Disney Plus

    Disney Plus has decided to not move forward with “Book of Enchantment,” a series based on some of Disney’s most iconic villains, Variety has learned from sources. The news comes the day before Disney is set to unveil its streaming service at the biannual D23 convention in Anaheim. The prospective project was based on the [...]

  • ITV STUDIOS PRESENTS VERAFILM 2Pictured: BRENDA

    Brenda Blethyn to Star in New ITV Sitcom 'Kate and Kolo'

    Oscar-nominated Brenda Blethyn is set to star in the new sitcom “Kate and Kolo” for ITV, the U.K. broadcaster announced at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Blethyn takes on the title role of Kate in the comedy alongside theater and film actor Jimmy Akingbola as Kolo. Blethyn is a popular star with ITV audiences after having [...]

  • Sean Spicer Emmys

    Sean Spicer's Casting Explained? Red States Love 'Dancing With the Stars'

    ABC faced backlash this week after casting former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on “Dancing with the Stars.” But that outrage might actually spice up the dancing competition’s dwindling ratings — particularly in Trump Country. “Dancing with the Stars” has faced a relatively alarming decline in ratings over the past two cycles, falling 32% [...]

  • Peppa Pig

    Hasbro Acquires Entertainment One in $4 Billion All-Cash Deal

    Toymaker Hasbro is acquiring studio Entertainment One in an all-cash transaction valued at $4 billion, bringing My Little Pony and Nerf under the same umbrella as “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks” and furthering Hasbro’s growth goals in the infant and preschool categories. Hasbro aims to expand its operations in film and TV. Entertainment One’s production [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content